Chapter 71 – 75

Chapter 71 – 75 An Understated Dominance

Chapter 71

Dahlia looked over her shoulder and saw Dustin walking toward her. “What do you mean?”

“Your drink has been drugged. You would be in danger if you had drunk it because it renders you defenseless,” Dustin warned.

“Drugged?” Dahlia frowned and turned to Matt, whose expression stiffened for a split second. However, he composed himself immediately.

“Dustin, you must be sorely mistaken,” Matt said coolly.

“You would know best whether I am mistaken,” Dustin retorted coldly.

“Dahlia, do you really think that I’m such a malicious person?” Matt asked with a disarming smile.

Dahlia was taken aback by the sudden question. After some deliberation, she asked, “Dustin, do you have any evidence to support your claim?”

“The restaurant’s manager saw what happened. He could be my witness,” Dustin answered.

“That’s right! It was clear as day. He spiked your wine with some powder!” the manager pointed an accusing finger at Matt.

“Everyone knows that both of you are in cahoots with each other. It would be impossible for me to deny it.” Matt shook his head, acting aggrieved.

“Dustin, do you have stronger evidence for your claims? Do not judge someone based on unfounded accusations!” Dahlia had a serious look on her face. Based on her knowledge of Matt, he wasn’t someone who would do such a thing.

“I already have a witness backing me up. What evidence do you need? Would you rather believe him over me?”

Dustin frowned, anger building up within him.

“I…” Dahlia didn’t know what to say. Matt was from the noble Laney family. As an aristocrat, it was unthinkable that he would carry out such a vile act. However, Dustin seemed so sure of himself. He wouldn’t lie either.

At that moment, she didn’t know who to side with.

“Dahlia, Dustin seems to have some prejudice against me. That’s fine, I can prove my innocence. Didn’t he claim that I drugged your drink? Let’s exchange drinks,” Matt said. He took Dahlia’s wine glass and downed the contents.

This simple action wiped away every doubt from Dahlia’s mind. If he did drug her drink, he wouldn’t have drunk it himself.

“Dustin, I don’t remember doing anything to offend you. Why are you hell-bent on insulting me like this? If you have a grudge against me, I sincerely apologize,” Matt said personably, tilting his head.

With his charm and courteous words, Dahlia was convinced that Matt was every inch a gentleman.

“Dustin, what do you have to say for yourself?” Dahlia turned to Dustin, her eyes boring into him.

“If I’m not mistaken, he must have taken the antidote prior to this.” Dustin was adamant.

“Nonsense!” Dahlia’s expression was dark. “Dustin, you are going too far! Matt has proven his innocence. Why are you still being so difficult?”

“I’m telling the truth.”

“Well, I just think that you are making up stories!” There was a hint of anger in Dahlia’s voice.

Evidently, Dustin felt hostility toward Matt. However, that was no reason to drag Matt’s name through the mud. It would be wrong to do so!

“If you still don’t believe me, then check his pockets. There must be some evidence of white powder on him!” Dustin tried turning Matt’s pockets inside out to prove his point, but this was the last straw for Dahlia.

“That’s enough!” Dahlia splashed the rest of the wine on Dustin’s face. “Have you not done enough damage for one day? Why are you as stubborn as a mule? Being a gentleman, can you not be so petty? If you are jealous of Matt, upgrade yourself and compete on the same level. Don’t use despicable tricks or baseless arguments to ruin his reputation. Your actions will only make me think that you are pathetic!” Dustin was dumbstruck by Dahlia’s words.

Chapter 72

Dustin was stunned by Dahlia’s hurtful words and furious outburst. Drops of wine rolled down his cheeks and to the ground. He was in a miserable state. Apparently, it was wishful thinking that their relationship had improved. In actual fact, there was nothing left between them.

“What? So you thought that I was falsely accusing him?” Dustin’s brows were deeply furrowed as he stared at Dahlia. “Am I that despicable of a person in your eyes?”

“Yes!” Dahlia blurted out. She felt a tinge of regret immediately. Yet, she could not take her words back now.

She had too much pride for that.

“Finally! You have spoken what you truly thought of me.” Dustin had a disappointed look on his face as he put on a wry smile.

“I have overstepped my boundaries. Who knew that after so many years, you still have feelings for Matt.”

“What nonsense are you spouting?” Dahlia frowned as well.

“Am I wrong? You said that you would not contact him anymore. Having said that, here you are having wine with Matt. Aren’t you being too hypocritical?”

“…” Dahlia was about to explain herself when Dustin interrupted her.

“Maybe you aren’t even worried about Matt drugging your drink. In actuality, you hoped that he would do so as this would give both of you a legitimate excuse to get together again. Am I correct?”

It was Dahlia’s turn to be stunned by Dustin’s words. Her face was a mix of disbelief, disappointment, and regret. Never would she have thought that Dustin would say such words. Did he genuinely think so lowly of her? Regardless of the past three years of marriage, there wasn’t a shred of trust left between them.

“Dustin! I’m utterly disappointed in you!” Dahlia gritted her teeth. As she walked away, she struggled to control her emotions.

Dustin stood rooted to the ground. He could feel the anger and hurt washing over him.

At this moment, Matt came over. The charming smile that had been on his face just now was replaced by a smirk.

“Dustin, everything you said was correct. I spiked Dahlia’s drink and drank her wine to get rid of the evidence. I already took the antidote in advance,” Matt whispered into his ear coldly.

“Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter anyway. Who would believe you now? Dahlia’s smitten with me, and she will support me. There’s nothing you say that would change the outcome. What? Are you burning with anger and frustration right now? Sadly, your hands are tied. Besides, I have to thank you for strengthening our relationship with this incident. I believe that she will fall in love with me before long and willingly go to bed with me. However, don’t worry. Once I’m tired of her, I’ll return her to you soon enough.” With this, Matt threw his head back and cackled maliciously.

His true colors were finally revealed. Compared to his gentlemanly disposition earlier, this side of him was cruel and sinister like a venomous snake!

Burning with anger, Dustin cracked his knuckles to prevent himself from punching Matt in the face as he left. Dahlia was obviously still in love with Matt. Even if his intentions were good, Dahlia had no need for his help. Since his actions would only be seen as a hindrance, there was nothing he could do. Although Dustin could convince himself logically, he couldn’t help but be aggravated by their relationship.

“Mr. Rhys, what’s happened?” At that moment, Natasha and Duane walked out of their booth.

“Forget it. I was just poking my nose where it didn’t belong.” Dustin said mockingly.

“Matt is notorious for sowing discord and stirring up trouble. Don’t be affected by him,” Duane continued.

“The main problem is not with Matt but with Dahlia.” Dustin shook his head. It would be useless to change her mind if she continued to be obstinate.

“Dustin, don’t be hung up over a woman! It’s no big deal, women are easy to find,” Duane said confidently. “As long as you are rich, women will flock to you. So, shall we get down to business?”

“What business?” Dustin asked with a tilt of his head.

“Of course it’s about the Gemiphen!” Duane smirked. “I’ve personally tried the miracle pill. A single pill could be worth a fortune! Since you are in need of herbs, why don’t we work together? I’ll deal with the rest of the business if you give me the prescription. Once I make a profit, we will split it evenly. What do you think?”

“I’m not changing my mind. I don’t mind helping you out, but you have to give me some rare herbs in exchange for the prescription. Otherwise, it’s a no.” Dustin shook his head again.

“Dustin, it will be some time before I get my hands on the herbs you want. Can’t you be more flexible?” Duane pleaded.

“Let’s talk about this after you have them in your possession.” Dustin was immovable.

Duane frowned when he heard the resolve in Dustin’s tone. This young man was as stubborn as a mule.

Initially, he wanted to start a mutual partnership with Dustin. However, it wasn’t going as smoothly as he thought. It seemed like he needed to pull out some of the tricks up his sleeve.

“Ms. Harmon! There’s bad news!” A bodyguard dressed in a suit ran into the restaurant hurriedly.

“Yes? What is it?” Natasha asked, surprised.

“It’s Ms. Ruth! She has been kidnapped!” the bodyguard reported.

“What did you say?” Natasha’s expression turned dark. “Didn’t I instruct you to protect her at all costs? How could this happen?”

“We were keeping an eye on her in secret. However, Ms. Ruth managed to escape and went to a private party. By the time we arrived, she was nowhere to be found!”

“Do you know who is behind this?” Natasha frowned.

“It could be Sir Hummer. The kidnappers left a ransom note instructing Mr. Rhys and you to meet at Hummer Villa.”

“Edwin?” Natasha gritted her teeth in anger. How dare he endanger a member of her family? He had gone too far with the repeated provocations and needed to be taught a lesson!

Contact the Harmon family. I need some strong fighters as backup! Since Edwin seeks a light, I shall give it to him!”

Chapter 73

The next morning, they met at Java Joys.

When Dustin entered the cafe, he noticed a burly man standing beside Natasha. His bulky muscles rippled under his clothes, and his knuckles were covered with calluses. This man was obviously an experienced fighter.

“Mr. Rhys, sorry to bother you. I owe you one.” Natasha walked up to Dustin.

 “It’s all right, I don’t mind helping out a friend in need. Besides, they had even specified my name in the note. I have no other choice.” Dustin smiled wryly.

Edwin’s men had left a ransom note which had his name on it. He was to go with Natasha to save Ruth.

“Mr. Rhys, let me introduce you to Stephan Chapman, one of the best fighters from the Harmon family.” Natasha pointed toward the man standing in silence.

“Mr. Chapman, a pleasure to meet you.” Dustin nodded in acknowledgement.

“You’re Dustin?” Stephan sized him up. “Was it you who took Liam and Noah Asher down?”

“In a way, yes.” Dustin nodded again.

“What do you mean, in a way? Don’t give such a vague answer. Did you use some shady tricks to win against them?” Stephan stared at him suspiciously.

“Well, as long as it gets the job done.” Dustin said nonchalantly.

“As martial artists, we should win fair and square. What’s the use of winning when you have to resort to despicable tricks?” Stephan scoffed. He deemed people like Dustin, who don’t belong to any martial arts group, as inferior to him.

“That makes sense.” Dustin had no interest in arguing further.

“To be honest, I have defeated Liam and Noah in a match before this!” Stephan boasted. “Don’t be too proud of yourself even if you win against them! They are weaklings compared to me. Once we have a match, you will know that many martial artists are stronger than you!”

Hearing Stephan’s speech, Dustin was lost for words. They were practically strangers. Why was he lecturing him like a child? Who was the one looking down on the other anyway?

“Alright, now that you have made each other’s acquaintance, we will be working together after this. Once we arrive at Hummer Villa, we may need each other’s help,” Natasha cut in.

“I’m sure we won’t need to. With me around, it would be easy to take Edwin down,” Stephan said confidently.

“Mr. Chapman, it’s good to be optimistic, but it’s better not to underestimate the enemy. When will Tilda arrive?” Natasha changed the topic.

Tilda Snider was one of her aunts and was famous for her deadly strikes. She was currently the head of security for the Harmon family. Compared to Stephan, she was on a different level. In this fight against Edwin, she was the key to victory.

“Tilda is on her way. She will be arriving shortly,” Stephan answered.

“Great. Since she is on her way, let’s make a move as well”

On her command, Natasha’s car led the way as the group drove in a file toward Hummer Villa.

Hummer Villa was situated at the top of a hill which was part of the Hummers” private land. As the cars drove up the hill, Edwin’s men kept surveillance on them in the hidden shadows of the surrounding trees.

When they arrived at the villa, everyone got down and entered the back garden.

With a pair of scissors in hand, Edwin was busy arranging a vase of flowers in a gazebo. Behind him, Fletcher

Lawson and a group of muscular men were standing guard, staring daggers at them.

“Ms. Harmon, you’ve finally arrived? Have a seat,” Edwin said with a smile, pointing to a chair. He acted as if “they were here for a chat.

“Sir Hummer, I’ve heard that you are holding my sister hostage. Is that true?” Natasha sat down and asked with a poker face.

“To be honest, I only knew about your sister this morning. My men did it at their discretion, so I have reprimanded them,” Edwin continued with a charming smile.

“Is that so? Well, why don’t you let my sister go?” Natasha pressed further.

“Let her go? That would be impossible.” Edwin shook his head. “Ms. Harmon, your sister made a mess at my party, destroyed my antiques, and beat up some of my underlings. If I let her go without repercussions, my reputation in Swinton would be ruined!”

“Then what do you want in return?” Natasha’s eyes narrowed.

“It’s very simple. Repay me double for my loss.” Edwin’s smile was plastered on his face. “I’ve calculated the damage your sister caused and everything amounts to ten billion dollars. As compensation, I want you to hand over half of your business in Swinton.”

“Half of the business? Are you joking?” Natasha raised her voice.

“Ms. Harmon, you are only giving up a small part of your assets. Moreover, your business activities are mainly in Milling. You won’t be affected much by what I’m asking for,” Edwin advised.

“What if I refuse?” Natasha retorted.

“It’s only right to pay back what you owe. If you refuse, I can’t guarantee that your sister will be safe from harm.” Edwin gave her a chilling smile.

“Are you threatening me?” Natasha returned his gaze stonily.

“I’m just giving you a warning. Of course, we can resolve this dispute with a death match. However, the entirety of our assets must be at stake,” Edwin said with a smirk.

“A death match?” Natasha mulled over his offer.

It was an unsaid rule in the business world. A death match was used to settle unresolved conflict between warring families in order to prevent unwanted death and bloodshed. There would be three rounds of battle royale in which the opposing families would send out their representatives to fight on behalf of them. There were no rules and everything was fair game.

“Challenge accepted!” Before Natasha could answer, Stephan spoke up. “Isn’t it just a fight? We will take you on! Show me some real competition!”

Edwin snickered maliciously at Stephan’s words.

This was what he had hoped would happen!

Chapter 74

“Mr. Chapman, what are you doing? Why did you interrupt?” Natasha frowned in annoyance. She hadn’t even made her decision, but Stephan had accepted the challenge without consulting her. He was overstepping his boundaries!

“Ms. Harmon, there’s nothing to be afraid of! I’m sure I can handle anything they throw at me,” Stephan said confidently. He was utterly unaware of his mistake.

“What if we lost the death match? Have you thought about the consequences?” Natasha narrowed her eyes.

 “You must be joking! It’s impossible that they will defeat me. Just watch, I’ll put on an amazing performance later!” Stephan patted his chest assuredly.

“Ms. Harmon, there are only two choices. You can either pay the ransom with half of your business, or you bet on the deathmatch with all your assets at stake.” Edwin repeated his conditions.

“I will accept the death match. However, let my sister go first,” Natasha said coldly. Even though she knew that she was walking into Edwin’s trap, there was nothing else she could do. Thankfully, she had come prepared.

“Of course.” Edwin gestured to his men, and they brought Ruth out, bound up tightly with ropes. Thankfully, despite the ordeal, she seemed none the worse for wear.

“Ruth, are you injured?” Natasha quickly cut the ropes away.

“Sis! Thank God you are here. This time, it’s not my fault. I fell into Edwin’s trap!” Ruth whined.

“It’s alright, go and have a rest. I’ll handle this.” Natasha nodded.

“Ms. Harmon, now that I have released your sister, isn’t it time to sign the agreement for our death match?” Edwin already had a document prepared, and a servant brought it to Natasha.

The document was both a signed consent and agreement stating the terms and conditions of the match. The loser had to comply with all the conditions of the bet, which everyone would witness.

“Since you insist on a death match, I’ll take up the challenge!” Natasha signed her name on the document without won.

“Alright! I admire your decisiveness!” Edwin smirked triumphantly as if he had already

“I’ll be your first opponent!” Stephan stepped forward confidently. He taunted Edwin’s men on the opposing side. “Who wants to fight me? I’ll send you all to hell!”

“Wolverine, you are up.” Edwin pointed toward a hulking, muscular man with tanned skin who stepped forward as well.

“Mr. Chapman, you must be careful of the Wolverine. He is a Muay Thai fighter and notorious among the underground fighting rings in Swinton!” One of Natasha’s bodyguards whispered to Stephan.

“A Muay Thai fighter? Defeating him would be child’s play!” Stephan scoffed. Stephan and Wolverine stood in the ring, facing each other off.

Wolverine was obviously used to combat. He stretched his limbs, cracked his knuckles, and struck a stance. His muscles were contracted tensely as he was poised to strike.

On the other hand, Stephan folded his hands behind him and seemed to be at ease.

“I’ll let you have the first move.” Stephan motioned to his opponent.

Wolverine did not hold back. He leaped high into the air and threw a flying kick at Stephan. At this level, his strength could even cause a metal pole to bend.

“Child’s play!” Stephan avoided the attack easily and landed a punch to Wolverine’s chest. Wolverine lost his balance and retreated a few steps, panting heavily.

Stephan did not give him a chance to catch his breath, landing several heavy blows on Wolverine’s arms, abdomen, and legs. After a few minutes, it was clear that Stephan had the upper hand. Wolverine did all he could to fight back, but he could not recover from his injuries. Finally, Stephan landed the final blow, and Wolverine fainted on impact.

The first round went to Stephan!

Seeing the outcome, relief appeared on the faces of Natasha’s men.

“Who would have expected that Mr. Chapman was so strong? It’s no wonder he is the key fighter of the Harmon family!”

“With Mr. Chapman on our side, we will definitely be victorious!”

The audience was whispering in excitement. They were all in awe of Stephan’s fighting ability. Even though he was a little brash, he did have the abilities to back it up.

“Who else wants to fight against me?” Stephan sized up the rest of Edwin’s men.

“This explains why Natasha agreed to the match so quickly. She brought in outside help.” Edwin scratched his chin in surprise.

“Have you all gone dumb? Come up to fight me!” Stephan taunted.

“Mr. Lawson, you are up next to prevent any further surprises.” Edwin turned to an older man, Fletcher Lawson.

“No problem.” Fletcher nodded and stepped into the ring with his head held high.

“Old man! With your thin and fragile limbs, how can you ever dream of defeating me? Give up now and you shall live!” Stephan laughed scornfully.

“Don’t overestimate yourself!” Fletcher replied with a poker face and attacked Stephan immediately. His agile movements were as quick as lightning.

“You are just asking for trouble!” Stephan sneered and rushed toward Fletcher as well.

When they met in the middle of the ring, there was a deafening explosion as both punches landed on their targets. However, after the debris settled, Fletcher was the only person still standing. Not a hair on his head was harmed.

On the other hand, Stephan was lying helplessly on the ground. His arm was obviously broken, and he was bleeding profusely. Fletcher’s immense power had struck Stephan’s body, Incapacitating him.

Fletcher was not done yet. He went up to Stephan and landed two more blows on his chest.

Stephan gave a loud cry of pain as his body was flung against a tree. On Impact, blood spurted out from his mouth.

“How could this be?” Natasha’s men were all dismayed at the sudden turn of events. No one expected Stephan to be defeated so quickly. Fletcher had Stephan Injured and bleeding within three turns. Their difference in prowess was just too significant.

“That’s terrible! How can this old man be so strong? Even Mr. Chapman couldn’t defeat him!” Ruth exclaimed worriedly.

Stephan was one of the Harmon family’s best fighters. It was unthinkable that he couldn’t even withstand three attacks from an opponent!

Chapter 75

Who are you?” Stephan’s face was frozen in terror, his body slumped on the ground. There was no hint of arrogance left in his trembling voice. He was soundly beaten after just three attacks. This proved the disparity in their abilities.

How could there be Someone with such devastating powers remaining unknown in a small place like Swinton?

“I’ll be honest with you. I’m Fletcher Lawson, Liam and Noah were my apprentices!” Fletcher said coldly.

 “What? You are Mr. Lawson of Klesbridge?” Stephan was dumbfounded at this revelation. His reputation as martial artist preceded him.

Fletcher was not only one of the most prominent fighters in Klesbridge, but he was also a master of poison! There were many tricks that he could use to make someone drop dead without a trace. His mere presence. was enough to make one’s blood run cold.

“You seem to have heard of me!” Fletcher sneered.

When Fletcher revealed his identity, Stephan’s face had turned as pale as a sheet. If he knew that Fletcher was involved, he would definitely not have accepted this task. Fletcher wasn’t someone you would want to have as an enemy. Crossing him would only be inviting death.

“Who will fight in the last round?” Edwin asked loudly.

Natasha’s men looked at each other in silence. If Mr. Chapman couldn’t even land a blow, the rest of them would be easily annihilated. No one dared to volunteer as it meant signing one’s own death warrant.

“Sis, what shall we do? Are we going to lose?” Ruth was fraught with anxiety. Who could be on par and fight against such overwhelming power?

“Punk! Are you game to fight a match against me?” Fletcher directed his gaze at Dustin, his gaze was brimming with hatred and anger.

“Why not?” Dustin gave a careless smile.

As he was about to step into the ring, Ruth pulled him back. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m going to accept his challenge,” Dustin answered.

“Accept his challenge? Do you know how to fight?” Ruth asked suspiciously.

“A little.” Dustin nodded.

“And you dare to accept his challenge when you’re bad at fighting? Are you attempting suicide?” Ruth exclaimed in frustration, “Do you know who that is? Fletcher Lawson is a formidable opponent. Being foolhardy will only bring about your destruction!”

“Don’t worry, I can handle it.” Dustin smiled. Although Ruth’s words were sharp, she had good intentions.

“Bullshit!” Ruth glared at him. “What’s the use of you going up to fight when Mr. Chapman couldn’t even defend himself?”

Stung by Ruth’s indirect insult, Stephan chimed in sarcastically, “Don’t overestimate yourself, punk! If you can’t even defeat me, it is impossible for you to fight against Mr. Lawson!”

“Your defeat doesn’t mean I have absolutely no chance,” Dustin said calmly.

“Youngsters like you will be the death of me! Do you think so highly of your abilities?” Stephan was annoyed by his impudence.

“Well, just wait and see.” Dustin didn’t explain further.

“Dustin, are you really sure?” Natasha spoke up suddenly.

“I think I’ll be fine.” Dustin nodded.

“Alright, give it a go but admit defeat if you have to. Your life is of utmost importance,” Natasha smiled as she gave her permission.

“Sis, are you joking? Are you really going to send Dustin to his death?” Ruth couldn’t believe her ears.

“Ms. Harmon! The entirety of your assets are on the line. If this punk loses, you will lose everything!” Stephan was anxious as well.

“I believe in Dustin.” Natasha said with finality. She had full confidence in him.

“Enough with the small talk! I’m going to send you to hell!” Fletcher shouted impatiently. He was dying to get his hands on Dustin and cut him up into tiny pieces.

Dustin ignored Fletcher’s taunts and walked up to him silently. Since Edwin had specifically asked for him to be here, it was obvious that he wanted revenge. If so, Dustin had no qualms about giving him what he wanted.

“This is awful! He is going to die!” Ruth stomped her foot in frustration.

“Ms. Harmon has been taken in by this punk’s overconfidence. What a pity!” Stephan shook his head, sighing. Clearly, he did not expect Dustin to return in one piece.

“Punk! Was it you who killed my apprentices?” Fletcher glared at Dustin with hostility.

“To be accurate, both of them committed suicide,” Dustin answered carelessly.

Noah killed himself because he refused to provide Dustin with information. On the other hand, Dustin hadn’t even touched a hair on Liam’s head. Liam had been the one who attacked him. However, he died from the overpowering recoil. It was only right to say that they killed themselves.

“You still dare to deny it at this last moment of your life? Today, I am going to exact revenge for the death of my apprentices!” Fletcher’s face twisted with hatred.

“Sure, this depends on your abilities.“,Dustin was unaffected by Fletcher’s threats.

“Arrogant punk! I’m going to wipe you from the face of the earth!” Fletcher roared. He concentrated the force in his feet and sprinted toward Dustin with a burst of sudden energy. His movements were as fast as lightning. causing large cracks to appear on the ground.

“That’s crazy!” Stephan exclaimed in awe. Fletcher had not even revealed his full strength when he was fighting against Stephan before!

“Go to hell!” Fletcher summoned his energy and unleashed a powerful punch in Dustin’s face. The vibrations from the attack formed a torrent of energy that swirled around them and sent debris flying around! Everyone took a few steps back to avoid getting injured in the aftermath.

Just when everyone thought that the outcome was decided, Dustin made his move. He stretched out his arm slowly and gave Fletcher a firm, tight slap on the cheek. The impact on Fletcher’s face created a loud cracking noise.

At that moment, Fletcher seemed like he was hit by a moving train! His body was flung several yards away like a dirty rag and crashed into a wall, creating a deep crater.

There was absolute silence as everyone was dumbfounded at the extraordinary turn of events.

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